Year in Film: 2010

Pub date December 28, 2010
WriterCheryl Eddy
SectionFilm Features

YEAR IN FILM To recap: 2010 was the year Oscar started dipping his golden fingers into the previous year’s pot of (mostly forgettable) big releases and fishing out 10 Best Picture nominees. Blue Pandora people were defeated at the podium, though they did leave a cultural stain behind — it’s safe to say, for example, that nobody’s been styling weddings after The Hurt Locker.

Predicting the next Academy Awards class requires looking past 2010’s top earners (Toy Story 3 and Inception aside) and focusing on films that pleased both critics and audiences (The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, Black Swan) — though if you’re in a betting mood, the carefully calibrated The King’s Speech seems exactly like the kind of movie the Academy will reward over anything achingly contemporary, staunchly gritty, or knowingly out-there. But as any true film fan knows, it’s usually not the movies that make the most money, or even win the most awards, that resonate and beg revisiting in the months and years that follow.

The Guardian’s annual Year in Film issue takes a look at some of 2010’s more notable trends, starring films you liked (The Kids Are All Right) and hated (I’m Still Here) — and films you wanted to see but forgot about and are now rushing to put on your Netflix queue (Splice). (Note: the “you” in the previous sentence is, uh, me.) And since I’m talking in the first person now, let me steer you toward my favorite documentary of the year (and 2010 boasted some great ones, including my second-favorite, The Tillman Story), made-for-ESPN tale The Two Escobars. I was lured in by heavy advertising during the World Cup — apologies to the Giants, but Landon Donovan’s ridiculous game-winner in USA versus Algeria is my pick for sports highlight of the year — and was unexpectedly mesmerized by its tragic story; only later did I learn of the film’s San Francisco connection. Read on, and pass the popcorn.

>>Babes in bondage

Or, 2010’s perfection-pursuing fatal femmes

>>Get “real”

The Social Network, Catfish, and I’m Still Here push the boundaries of truth and fiction

>>Past imperfect

Digging through the year in archival footage

>>Rate irate

Confidential to the Motion Picture Association of America: F-U

>>Baby daddy drama

Parsing 2010’s bumper crop of sperm donor comedies

>>Goal difference

Top 2010 doc The Two Escobars examines two sides of Colombian narco-soccer

>>Guardian critics pick their best movies of the year